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Clockwise:Dresden at night, Dresden Frauenkirche, Schloss Pillnitz, Dresden Castle and Zwinger.
|• Lord Mayor||Helma Orosz (CDU)|
|• City||328.8 km2 (127.0 sq mi)|
|Elevation||113 m (371 ft)|
|• Density||1,600/km2 (4,100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Clockwise:Dresden at night, Dresden Frauenkirche, Schloss Pillnitz, Dresden Castle and Zwinger.
|• Lord Mayor||Helma Orosz (CDU)|
|• City||328.8 km2 (127.0 sq mi)|
|Elevation||113 m (371 ft)|
|• Density||1,600/km2 (4,100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Dresden (German pronunciation: [ˈdʁeːsdən]; Upper Sorbian: Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area with 2.4 million inhabitants.
Dresden has a long history as the capital and royal residence for the Electors and Kings of Saxony, who for centuries furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendor. The city was known as the Jewel Box, because of its baroque and rococo city center. The controversial British and American bombing of Dresden in World War II towards the end of the war killed approximately 25,000, many of whom were civilians, and destroyed the entire city center. The bombing gutted the city, as it did for other major German cities. After the war restoration work has helped to reconstruct parts of the historic inner city, including the Katholische Hofkirche, the Semper Oper and the Dresdner Frauenkirche as well as the suburbs.
Before and since German reunification in 1990, Dresden was and is a cultural, educational, political and economic center of Germany and Europe. The Dresden University of Technology is one of the 10 largest universities in Germany and part of the German Universities Excellence Initiative.
Although Dresden is a relatively recent city of Slavic origin, the area had been settled in the Neolithic era by Linear Pottery culture tribes ca. 7500 BC. Dresden's founding and early growth is associated with the eastward expansion of Germanic peoples, mining in the nearby Ore Mountains, and the establishment of the Margraviate of Meissen. Its name etymologically derives from Old Sorbian Drežďany, meaning people of the forest. Dresden later evolved into the capital of Saxony.
Around the late 12th century, a Slavic settlement called Drežďany had developed on the southern bank. Another settlement existed on the northern bank, but its Slavic name is unclear. It was known as Antiqua Dresdin, verifiable since 1350, and later as Altendresden, both literally "old Dresden". Dietrich, Margrave of Meissen, chose Dresden as his interim residence in 1206, as documented in a record calling the place "Civitas Dresdene".
The Elector and ruler of Saxony Frederick Augustus I became King August the Strong of Poland in personal union. He gathered many of the best musicians, architects and painters from all over Europe to Dresden. His reign marked the beginning of Dresden's emergence as a leading European city for technology and art. Dresden suffered heavy destruction in the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), following its capture by Prussian forces, its subsequent re-capture, and a failed Prussian siege in 1760. Friedrich Schiller wrote his Ode to Joy (the literary base of the European anthem) for the Dresden Masonic Lodge in 1785.
Between 1806 and 1918 the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Saxony (which was a part of the German Empire from 1871). During the Napoleonic Wars the French emperor made it a base of operations, winning there the famous Battle of Dresden on 27 August 1813. Dresden was a center of the German Revolutions in 1848 with the May Uprising, which cost human lives and damaged the historic town of Dresden.
In the early 20th century Dresden was particularly well known for its camera works and its cigarette factories. Between 1918 and 1934 Dresden was capital of the first Free State of Saxony. Dresden was a center of European modern art until 1933.
During the foundation of the German Empire in 1871, a large military facility called Albertstadt was built. It had a capacity of up to 20,000 military personnel at the beginning of the First World War. The garrison saw only limited use between 1918 and 1934, but was then reactivated in preparation for the Second World War.
The Albertstadt garrison became the headquarters of the Soviet 1st Guards Tank Army in the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany after the war. Apart from the German army officers' school (Offizierschule des Heeres), there have been no more military units in Dresden since the army merger during German reunification, and the withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1992. Nowadays, the Bundeswehr operates the Military History Museum of the Federal Republic of Germany in the former Albertstadt garrison.
Dresden in the 20th century was a major communications hub and manufacturing center, as well as a leading European center of art, classical music, culture and science until its complete destruction on 13 February 1945. Being the capital of the German state of Saxony, Dresden had not only garrisons but a whole military borough, the Albertstadt. This military complex, named after Saxon King Albert, was not specifically targeted in the bombing of Dresden though it was within the expected area of destruction.
During the final months of World War II, Dresden became a haven to some 600,000 refugees, with a total population of 1.2 million. Dresden was attacked seven times between 1944 and 1945, and was occupied by the Red Army after German capitulation.
The bombing of Dresden by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) between 13 and 15 February 1945 remains a controversial Allied action of the Western European theatre of war.
The inner city of Dresden was largely destroyed by 722 RAF and 527 USAAF bombers that dropped 2431 tons of high explosive bombs, and 1475.9 tons of incendiaries. The high explosive bombs damaged buildings and exposed their wooden structures, while the incendiaries ignited them, severely reducing the number of shelters available to the retreating German troops and refugees. The bombing raid on Dresden destroyed almost all of the ancient center of the city in three waves of attacks. Widely quoted Nazi propaganda reports claimed 200,000 deaths. The German Dresden Historians' Commission, in an official 2010 report published after five years of research concluded that casualties numbered up to 25,000, while right-wing groups continue to claim that up to 500,000 people died. The inhabited city center was almost wiped out, while larger residential, industrial and military sites on the outskirts were relatively unscathed. The Allies described the operation as the legitimate bombing of a military and industrial target. A report from the British Bomber Command stated the military target was the railway marshaling yard Dresden-Friedrichstadt. Prime Minister Winston Churchill later distanced himself from the attack, even though he was heavily involved with the planning of the raid. Several researchers have argued that the February attacks were disproportionate. Mostly women and children died.
American author Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse Five is based on his first-hand experience of the raid as a POW. In remembrance of the victims, the anniversaries of the bombing of Dresden are marked with peace demonstrations, devotions and marches.
After the Second World War, Dresden became a major industrial center in the German Democratic Republic (former East Germany) with a great deal of research infrastructure. Many important historic buildings were rebuilt, including the Semper Opera House, the Zwinger Palace and a great many other historic buildings, although the city leaders chose to reconstruct large areas of the city in a "socialist modern" style, partly for economic reasons, but also to break away from the city's past as the royal capital of Saxony and a stronghold of the German bourgeoisie. However, some of the bombed-out ruins of churches, royal buildings and palaces, such as the Gothic Sophienkirche, the Alberttheater and the Wackerbarth-Palais were razed by the Soviet and East German authorities in the 1950s and 1960s instead of being repaired. Compared to West Germany, the majority of historic buildings were saved.
From 1985 to 1990, the KGB stationed Vladimir Putin, the future President of Russia, in Dresden. On 3 October 1989 (the so-called "battle of Dresden"), a convoy of trains carrying East German refugees from Prague passed through Dresden on its way to the Federal Republic of Germany. Local activists and residents joined in the growing civil disobedience movement spreading across the German Democratic Republic by staging demonstrations and demanding the removal of the nondemocratic government.
Dresden has experienced dramatic changes since the reunification of Germany in the early 1990s. The city still bears many wounds from the bombing raids of 1945, but it has undergone significant reconstruction in recent decades. Restoration of the Dresden Frauenkirche was completed in 2005, a year before Dresden's 800th anniversary, notably by privately raised funds. The gold cross on the top of the church was paid for and donated by the City of Edinburgh as a mark of the bond between the two cities. The urban renewal process, which includes the reconstruction of the area around the Neumarkt square on which the Frauenkirche is situated, will continue for many decades, but public and government interest remains high, and there are numerous large projects underway—both historic reconstructions and modern plans—that will continue the city's recent architectural renaissance.
Dresden remains a major cultural center of historical memory, owing to the city's destruction in World War II. Each year on 13 February, the anniversary of the British and American fire-bombing raid that destroyed most of the city, tens of thousands of demonstrators gather to commemorate the event. Since reunification, the ceremony has taken on a more neutral and pacifist tone (after being used more politically in Cold War times). In recent years, however, white power skinheads have tried to use the event for their own political ends. In the last ten years, Dresden was host to some of the largest Neo-Nazi demonstrations in the post-war history of Germany. Each year around the anniversary of the bombing of Dresden in World War II, Neo-Nazis demonstrated to "mourn" what they call the "Allied bomb-holocaust". From 2010 on, these demonstrations were prevented by antifascist counter-mobilizations that successfully blocked the annual Neo-Nazi marches.
The completion of the reconstructed Dresden Frauenkirche in 2005 marked the first step in rebuilding the Neumarkt area. The areas around the square have been divided into 8 "Quarters", with each being rebuilt as a separate project, the majority of buildings to be rebuilt either to the original structure or at least with a façade similar to the original. Quarter I and the front section of Quarters II, III, IV and V(II) have since been completed, with Quarter VIII currently under construction.
In 2002, torrential rains caused the Elbe to flood 9 metres (30 ft) above its normal height, i.e., even higher than the old record height from 1845, damaging many landmarks (See 2002 European flood). The destruction from this "millennium flood" is no longer visible, due to the speed of reconstruction.
The United Nations' cultural organization UNESCO declared the Dresden Elbe Valley to be a World Heritage Site in 2004. After being placed on the list of endangered World Heritage Sites in 2006, the city lost the title in June 2009, due to the construction of the Waldschlößchenbrücke, making it only the second ever World Heritage Site to be removed from the register. UNESCO stated in 2006 that the bridge would destroy the cultural landscape. The city council's legal moves meant to prevent the bridge from being built failed.
The Dresden Elbe Valley was an internationally recognized site of cultural significance by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for five years. After being placed on the list of endangered World Heritage Sites in 2006, the city had its status as world heritage site formally removed in June 2009, for the willful breach of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, due to the construction of a highway bridge across the valley within 2 km (1 mi) of the historic center. It thereby became the first location ever in Europe to lose this status, and the second ever in the world.
Dresden lies on both banks of the Elbe River, mostly in the Dresden Basin, with the further reaches of the eastern Ore Mountains to the south, the steep slope of the Lusatian granitic crust to the north, and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains to the east at an altitude of about 113 metres (371 feet). Triebenberg is the highest point in Dresden at 384 metres (1,260 feet).
With a pleasant location and a mild climate on the Elbe, as well as Baroque-style architecture and numerous world-renowned museums and art collections, Dresden has been called "Elbflorenz" (Florence of the Elbe). The incorporation of neighbouring rural communities over the past 60 years has made Dresden the fourth largest urban district by area in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, and Cologne.
The nearest German cities are Chemnitz 80 kilometres (50 miles) to the southwest, Leipzig 100 kilometres (62 miles) to the northwest and Berlin 200 kilometres (120 miles) to the north. Prague, Czech Republic is about 150 kilometres (93 miles) to the south and to the east 200 kilometres (120 miles) is the Polish city of Breslau/ Wrocław.
Dresden is one of the greenest cities in all of Europe, with 63% of the city being green areas and forests. The Dresden Heath (Dresdner Heide) to the north is a forest 50 km2 in size. There are four nature reserves. The additional Special Conservation Areas cover 18 km2. The protected gardens, parkways, parks and old graveyards host 110 natural monuments in the city. The Dresden Elbe Valley is a former world heritage site which is focused on the conservation of the cultural landscape in Dresden. One important part of that landscape is the Elbe meadows, which cross the city in a 20 kilometre swath. Saxon Switzerland is an important nearby location.
Dresden has an oceanic climate (Cfb), influenced by its inland location, with average summers and slightly colder winters compared to the German average. The average temperature in January is 0.1 °C (32.18 °F) and in July 19.0 °C (66.2 °F). The driest months are February, March and April, with precipitation of around 40 mm (1.6 in). The wettest months are July and August, with more than 80 mm (3.1 in) per month.
The microclimate in the Elbe valley differs from that on the slopes and in the higher areas. Klotzsche, at 227 metres above sea level, hosts the Dresden weather station. The weather in Klotzsche is 1 to 1 to 3 °C (1.8 to 5.4 °F) colder than in the inner city.
|Climate data for Dresden, Germany for 1981–2010, record temperatures for 1967-2013 (Source: DWD)|
|Record high °C (°F)||16.2|
|Average high °C (°F)||2.7|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||0.1|
|Average low °C (°F)||−2.4|
|Record low °C (°F)||−25.3|
|Precipitation mm (inches)||46.5|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||62.1||77.8||118.2||170.7||218.7||202.3||222.6||212.9||152.0||122.4||64.5||55.1||1,679.37|
|Source: Data derived from Deutscher Wetterdienst|
Because of its location on the banks of the Elbe, into which some water sources from the Ore Mountains flow, flood protection is important. Large areas are kept free of buildings to provide a flood plain. Two additional trenches, about 50 metres wide, have been built to keep the inner city free of water from the Elbe, by dissipating the water downstream through the inner city's gorge portion. Flood regulation systems like detention basins and water reservoirs are almost all outside the city area.
The Weißeritz, normally a rather small river, suddenly ran directly into the main station of Dresden during the 2002 European floods. This was largely because the river returned to its former route; it had been diverted so that a railway could run along the river bed.
Many locations and areas need to be protected by walls and sheet pilings during floods. A number of districts become waterlogged if the Elbe overflows across some of its former floodplains.
Semperoper during 2005 floods
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (November 2011)|
Dresden is a spacious city. Its districts differ in their structure and appearance. Many parts still contain an old village core, while some quarters are almost completely preserved as rural settings. Other characteristic kinds of urban areas are the historic outskirts of the city, and the former suburbs with scattered housing. During the German Democratic Republic, many apartment blocks were built. The original parts of the city are almost all in the districts of Altstadt (Old town) and Neustadt (New town). Growing outside the city walls, the historic outskirts were built in the 18th century. They were planned and constructed on the orders of the Saxon monarchs, which is why the outskirts are often named after sovereigns. From the 19th century the city grew by incorporating other districts. Dresden has been divided into ten districts called "Ortsamtsbereich" and nine former boroughs ("Ortschaften") which have been incorporated.
|Significant foreign born populations|
|Country of Birth||Population (2013)|
The population of Dresden reached 100,000 inhabitants in 1852, making it the third German city to reach that number. The population peaked at 649,252 in 1933, but dropped to 450,000 in 1946 as the result of World War II, during which large residential areas of the city were destroyed. After large incorporations and city restoration, the population grew to 522,532 again between 1950 and 1983.
Since German reunification, demographic development has been very unsteady. The city has had to struggle with migration and suburbanization. The population increased to 480,000 as a consequence of several incorporations during the 1990s, but it fell to 452,827 in 1998. Between 2000 and 2010, the population grew quickly by more than 45,000 inhabitants (about 9.5%) due to a stabilized economy and reurbanization. Along with Munich and Potsdam, Dresden is one of the ten fastest-growing cities in Germany, while the population of the surrounding new federal states is still shrinking. The population of the city of Dresden is 523,058 (2010), the population of the Dresden agglomeration is 780,561 (2008), and the population of Region Dresden (which includes the neighbouring districts of Meißen, Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge and the western part of the district of Bautzen) is 1,143,197 (2007). Today Dresden is one of the few German Cities which have more inhabitants than ever since World War II.
Dresden is one of Germany's 16 political centers and the capital of Saxony. It has institutions of democratic local self-administration that are independent from the capital functions. Some local affairs of Dresden receive national attention.
Dresden hosted some international summits such as the Petersburg Dialogue between Russia and Germany, the European Union's Minister of the Interior conference and the G8 labor ministers conference in recent years.
The City Council defines the basic principles of the municipality by decrees and statutes. The council gives orders to the "Bürgermeister" ("Burgomaster" or Mayor) by voting for resolutions and thus has some executive power.
Currently, there is no stable governing majority on Dresden city council.
The Supreme Burgomaster is directly elected by the citizens for a term of seven years. Executive functions are normally elected indirectly in Germany. However, the Supreme Burgomaster shares numerous executive rights with the city council. He/She is the executive head of the municipality, and also the ceremonial representative of the city. The main departments of the municipality are managed by seven burgomasters.
Local affairs in Dresden often center around the urban development of the city and its spaces. Architecture and the design of public places is a controversial subject. Discussions about the Waldschlößchenbrücke, a bridge under construction across the Elbe, received international attention because of its position across the Dresden Elbe Valley World Heritage Site. Its construction caused the loss of World Heritage site status in 2009. The city held a public referendum in 2005 on whether to build the bridge, prior to UNESCO expressing doubts about the compatibility between bridge and heritage.
In 2006 Dresden sold its publicly subsidized housing organization, WOBA Dresden GmbH, to the US-based private investment company Fortress Investment Group. The city received 987.1 million euro and paid off its remaining loans, making it the first large city in Germany to become debt-free. Opponents of the sale were concerned about Dresden's loss of control over the subsidized housing market.
Along with its twin city Coventry, Dresden was one of the first two cities to twin with a foreign city after World War II. Similar symbolism occurred in 1988, when Dresden twinned with the Dutch city of Rotterdam. The cities became twins after World War II in an act of reconciliation, as they had suffered incisive destructions from bombings. The Coventry Blitz and Rotterdam Blitz bombardments of the German Luftwaffe are also considered to be disproportional. Dresden has had a triangular partnership with Saint Petersburg and Hamburg since 1987. Dresden has 13 twin cities.
Dresden is seeking to regain the kind of cultural importance it held from the 19th century until the 1920s, when it was a center of art, architecture and music. Carl Maria von Weber and Richard Wagner had a number of their works performed for the first time in Dresden. Other famous artists, such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Dix, Oskar Kokoschka, Richard Strauss, Gottfried Semper and Gret Palucca, were also active in the city. Dresden is also home to several important art collections, world-famous musical ensembles, and significant buildings from various architectural periods, many of which were rebuilt after the destruction of the Second World War.
The Saxon State Opera descends from the opera company of the former electors and Kings of Saxony in the Semperoper. After being completely destroyed during the bombing of Dresden during the second world war, the opera's reconstruction was completed exactly 40 years later, on 13 February 1985. Its musical ensemble is the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, founded in 1548. The Dresden State Theatre runs a number of smaller theatres. The Dresden State Operetta is the only independent operetta in Germany. The Herkuleskeule (Hercules club) is an important site in German-speaking political cabaret.
There are several choirs in Dresden, the best-known of which is the Dresdner Kreuzchor (Choir of The Holy Cross). It is a boys' choir drawn from pupils of the Kreuzschule, and was founded in the 13th century. The Dresdner Kapellknaben are not related to the Staatskapelle, but to the former Hofkapelle, the Catholic cathedral, since 1980. The Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra is the orchestra of the city of Dresden.
A big event each year in June is the Bunte Republik Neustadt, a culture festival lasting 3 days in the city district of Dresden-Neustadt. Bands play live concerts for free in the streets and people can find all kinds of refreshments and food.
Dresden hosts the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) which, according to the institution's own statements, place it among the most important museums presently in existence. The art collections consist of twelve museums, of which the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Gallery) and the Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault) are the most famous. Also known are Galerie Neue Meister (New Masters Gallery), Rüstkammer (Armoury) with the Turkish Chamber, and the Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden (Museum of Ethnology).
Other museums and collections owned by the Free State of Saxony in Dresden are:
The Dresden City Museum is run by the city of Dresden and focused on the city's history. The Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr (Military History Museum) is placed in the former garrison in the Albertstadt.
The book museum of the Saxon State Library presents the famous Dresden Codex. The Botanischer Garten Dresden is a botanical garden in the Großer Garten that is maintained by the Dresden University of Technology. Also located in the Großer Garten is the Dresden Zoo.
Although Dresden is often said to be a Baroque city, its architecture is influenced by more than one style. Other eras of importance are the Renaissance and Historism, as well as the contemporary styles of Modernism and Postmodernism.
Dresden has some 13 000 listed cultural monuments and eight districts under general preservation orders.
The royal buildings are among the most impressive buildings in Dresden. The Dresden Castle was the seat of the royal household from 1485. The wings of the building have been renewed, built upon and restored many times. Due to this integration of styles, the castle is made up of elements of the Renaissance, Baroque and Classicist styles.
The Zwinger Palace is across the road from the castle. It was built on the old stronghold of the city and was converted to a center for the royal art collections and a place to hold festivals. Its gate by the moat, surmounted by a golden crown, is famous.
Other royal buildings and ensembles:
The Hofkirche was the church of the royal household. Augustus the Strong, who desired to be King of Poland, converted to Catholicism, as Polish kings had to be Catholic. At that time Dresden was strictly Protestant. Augustus the Strong ordered the building of the Hofkirche, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, to establish a sign of Roman Catholic religious importance in Dresden. The church is the cathedral "Sanctissimae Trinitatis" since 1980. The crypt of the Wettin Dynasty is located within the church.
In contrast to the Hofkirche, the Lutheran Frauenkirche was built almost contemporaneously by the citizens of Dresden. It is said to be the greatest cupola building in Central and Northern Europe. The city's historic Kreuzkirche was reconsecrated in 1388.
There are also other churches in Dresden, for example a Russian Orthodox Church in the Südvorstadt district.
Dresden has been an important site for the development of contemporary architecture for centuries, and this trend has continued into the 20th and 21st centuries.
Historicist buildings made their presence felt on the cityscape until the 1920s sampled by public buildings such as the Staatskanzlei or the City Hall. One of the youngest buildings of that era is the Hygiene Museum, which is designed in an impressively monumental style, but employs plain façades and simple structures. It is often attributed, wrongly, to the Bauhaus school.
Most of the present cityscape of Dresden was built after 1945, a mix of reconstructed or repaired old buildings and new buildings in the modern and postmodern styles. Important buildings erected between 1945 and 1990 are the Centrum-Warenhaus (a large department store) representing the international style, the Kulturpalast, and several smaller and two bigger complexes of Plattenbau housing in Gorbitz, while there is also housing dating from the era of Stalinist architecture.
After 1990 and German reunification, new styles emerged. Important contemporary buildings include the New Synagogue, a postmodern building with few windows, the Transparent Factory, the Saxon State Parliament and the New Terrace, the UFA-Kristallpalast cinema by Coop Himmelb(l)au (one of the biggest buildings of Deconstructivism in Germany), and the Saxon State Library. Daniel Libeskind and Norman Foster both modified existing buildings. Foster roofed the main railway station with translucent Teflon-coated synthetics. Libeskind changed the whole structure of the Bundeswehr Military History Museum Museum by placing a wedge through the historical arsenal building.
There are about 300 fountains and springs, many of them in parks or squares. The wells serve only a decorative function, since there is a fresh water system in Dresden. Springs and fountains are also elements in contemporary cityspaces.
The most famous sculpture in Dresden is Jean-Joseph Vinache's golden equestrian sculpture of August the Strong called the Goldener Reiter (Golden Cavalier) on the Neustädter Markt square. It shows August at the beginning of the Hauptstraße (Main street) on his way to Warsaw, where he was King of Poland in personal union. Another sculpture is the memorial of Martin Luther in front of the Frauenkirche.
The Garden City of Hellerau, at that time a suburb of Dresden, was founded in 1909. In 1911 Heinrich Tessenow built the Hellerau Festspielhaus (festival theatre) and Hellerau became a center of modernism with international standing until the outbreak of World War I.
In 1950, Hellerau was incorporated into the city of Dresden. Today the Hellerau reform architecture is recognized as exemplary. In the 1990s, the garden city of Hellerau became a conservation area.
Dresden's urban parts are subdivided in rather a lot of city quarters, up to around 100, among them relatively many larger villa quarters dominated by historic multiple dwelling units, especially, but not only along the river, most known are Blasewitz, Loschwitz, Pillnitz and Weißer Hirsch. Also some Art Nouveau living quarters and two bigger quarters typical for communist architecture – but much renovated – can be found. The villa town of Radebeul joins the Dresden city tram system, which is expansive due to the lack of an underground system.
There are several small theaters presenting cult films and low-budget or low-profile films chosen for their cultural value. Dresden also has a few multiplex cinemas, of which the Rundkino is the oldest.
Dresden is home to Dynamo Dresden, which had a tradition in UEFA club competitions up to the early 1990s. Dynamo Dresden won eight titles in the DDR-Oberliga. Currently, the club is a member of the 2. Bundesliga after some seasons in the Bundesliga and 3rd Liga.
In the early 20th century, the city was represented by Dresdner SC, who were one of Germany's most successful clubs in football. Their best performances came during World War II, when they were twice German champions, and twice Cup winners. Dresdner SC is a multisport club. While its football team plays in the sixth-tier Landesliga Sachsen, its volleyball section has a team in the women's Bundesliga. Dresden has a third football team SC Borea Dresden. ESC Dresdner Eislöwen is an ice hockey club playing in the 2nd Bundesliga again. Dresden Monarchs are an American football team in the German Football League.
The Bundesautobahn 4 (European route E40) crosses Dresden in the northwest from west to east. The Bundesautobahn 17 leaves the A4 in a south-eastern direction. In Dresden it begins to cross the Ore Mountains towards Prague. The Bundesautobahn 13 leaves from the three-point interchange "Dresden-Nord" and goes to Berlin. The A13 and the A17 are on the European route E55. Several Bundesstraße roads crossing or running through Dresden.
There are two main inter-city transit hubs in the railway network in Dresden: Dresden Hauptbahnhof and Dresden-Neustadt railway station. The most important railway lines run to Berlin, Prague, Leipzig and Chemnitz. A commuter train system (Dresden S-Bahn) operates on three lines alongside the long-distance routes.
Dresden has a large tramway network operated by Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe, the municipal transport company. Because the geological bedrock does not allow the building of underground railways, the tramway is an important form of public transport. The Transport Authority operates twelve lines on a 200 km (124 mi) network. Many of the new low-floor vehicles are up to 45 metres long and produced by Bombardier Transportation in Bautzen. While many of the system's lines are on reserved track (often sown with grass to avoid noise), many tracks still run on the streets, especially in the inner city.
The districts of Loschwitz and Weisser Hirsch are connected by the Dresden Funicular Railway, which was opened on 26 October 1895.
Dresden is the capital of a German Land (federal state). It is home to the Landtag of Saxony and the ministries of the Saxon Government. The controlling Constitutional Court of Saxony is in Leipzig. The highest Saxon court in civil and criminal law, the Higher Regional Court of Saxony, has its home in Dresden.
Most of the Saxon state authorities are located in Dresden. Dresden is home to the Regional Commission of the Dresden Regierungsbezirk, which is a controlling authority for the Saxon Government. It has jurisdiction over eight rural districts, two urban districts and the city of Dresden.
Like many cities in Germany, Dresden is also home to a local court, has a trade corporation and a Chamber of Industry and Trade and many subsidiaries of federal agencies (such as the Federal Labour Office or the Federal Agency for Technical Relief). It also hosts some subdepartments of the German Customs and the eastern Federal Waterways Directorate.
Dresden is also home to a military subdistrict command but no longer has large military units as it did in the past. Dresden is the traditional location for army officer schooling in Germany, today carried out in the Offizierschule des Heeres.
In 1990 Dresden—an important industrial center of the German Democratic Republic—had to struggle with the economic collapse of the Soviet Union and the other export markets in Eastern Europe. The German Democratic Republic had been the richest eastern bloc country but was faced with competition from the Federal Republic of Germany after reunification. After 1990 a completely new law and currency system was introduced in the wake of the collapse of the German Democratic Republic and eastern Germany's infrastructure was largely rebuilt with funds from the Federal Republic of Germany. Dresden as a major urban center has developed much faster and more consistently than most other regions in the former German Democratic Republic, but the city still faces many social and economic problems stemming from the collapse of the former system, including high unemployment levels.
Until famous enterprises like Dresdner Bank left Dresden in the communist era to avoid nationalisation, Dresden was one of the most important German cities. The period of the GDR until 1990 was characterized by low economic growth in comparison to western German cities. The enterprises and production sites broke down almost completely as they entered the social market economy. Since then the economy of Dresden has been recovering.
The unemployment rate fluctuated between 13% and 15% within the first 20 years after Germany's unification and is still relatively high. Nevertheless, Dresden has developed faster than the average for Eastern Germany and has raised its GDP per capita to 31,100 euro, equal to the GDP per capita of some poor West German communities (the average of the 50 biggest cities is around 35,000 euro).
Thanks to the presence of public administration centers, a high density of semi-public research institutes which settle freely within Germany and a successful extension of high technology sectors through the help of public funding, the proportion of highly qualified workers is again among the highest in Germany and also in Europe-wide criteria, though - as all eastern towns in Germany - Dresden has a traditional shortage of corporate headquarters. Dresden is regularly ranked among the best ten bigger cities in Germany to live in. In May 2012 the unemployment rate reached a new low of 8.9%.
Three major sectors dominate Dresden's economy:
The semiconductor industry was built up in 1969. Major enterprises today are AMD's spin-off GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Infineon Technologies, ZMDI and Toppan Photomasks. Their factories attract many suppliers of material and cleanroom technology enterprises to Dresden.
The pharmaceutical sector came up at the end of the 19th century. The Sächsisches Serumwerk Dresden (Saxon Serum Plant, Dresden), owned by GlaxoSmithKline, is a world leader in vaccine production. Another traditional pharmaceuticals producer is Arzneimittelwerke Dresden (Pharmaceutical Works, Dresden).
A third traditional branch is that of mechanical and electrical engineering. Major employers are the Volkswagen Transparent Factory, EADS Elbe Flugzeugwerke (Elbe Aircraft Works), Siemens and Linde-KCA-Dresden. Tourism is another sector of the economy enjoying high revenue and many employees. There are something like hundred bigger hotels in Dresden with many of them in the upscale range.
The media sector is not particularly strong in Dresden. Recently it sometimes benefits from the new interface with informatics so that it can gain transregional meaning beyond the semi-public science and upper culture sectors which often produce their media coverage in-house. The media in Dresden include two major newspapers of regional record: the Sächsische Zeitung (Saxonian Newspaper, circulation around 300,000) and the Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten (Dresden's Latest News, circulation around 50,000). Dresden has a broadcasting center belonging to the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk. The Dresdner Druck- und Verlagshaus (Dresden printing plant and publishing house) produces part of Spiegel's print run, among other newspapers and magazines.
Dresden is home to a number of renowned universities, but among German cities it is a more recent location for academic education.
Other universities include the "Hochschule für Kirchenmusik", a school specialising in church music, the "Evangelische Hochschule für Sozialarbeit", an education institution for social work. The "Dresden International University" is a private postgraduate university, founded a few years ago in cooperation with the Dresden University of Technology.
Dresden also hosts many research institutes, some of which have gained an international standing. The domains of most importance are micro- and nanoelectronics, transport and infrastructure systems, material and photonic technology, and bio-engineering. The institutes are well connected among one other as well as with the academic education institutions.
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf is the largest complex of research facilities in Dresden, a short distance outside the urban areas. It still focuses on nuclear medicine and physics. As part of the Helmholtz Association it is one of the German Big Science research centers.
The Max Planck Society focuses on fundamental research. In Dresden there are three Max Planck Institutes (MPI); the "MPI of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics", the "MPI for Chemical Physics of Solids" and the "MPI for the Physics of Complex Systems"
The Fraunhofer Society hosts institutes of applied research that also offer mission-oriented research to enterprises. With eleven institutions or parts of institutes, Dresden is the largest location of the Fraunhofer Society worldwide. The Fraunhofer Society has become an important factor in location decisions and is seen as a useful part of the "knowledge infrastructure".
The Leibniz Community is a union of institutes with science covering fundamental research and applied research. In Dresden there are three Leibniz Institutes. The "Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research" and the "Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research" are both in the material and high-technology domain, while the "Leibniz Institute for Ecological and Regional Development" is focused on more fundamental research into urban planning. Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf was member of the Leibniz Community till end of 2010.
Dresden has 21 Gymnasien which prepare for a tertiary education. Five are private. The "Sächsisches Landesgymnasium für Musik" with a focus on music is supported by the State of Saxony, rather than by the city. There are some Berufliche Gymnasien which combine vocational education and secondary education and a Abendgymnasium which prepares higher education of adults avocational.
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